The first charge being brought against Saddam Hussein is that in 1982, after his motorcade came under fire near the mainly Shi'ite town of Dujail, he ordered the torture and murder of 148 men and boys. It's a relatively minor item in the catalog, but there it is. The first prosecution witness in the case, Wadah al-Sheikh, has actually testified that he knows of no direct link between Saddam and the killings. The defense team has to hope that it can prove the same, or perhaps suggest that no such massacre occurred. Not so Ramsey Clark. In a recent BBC interview, he [Ramsey Clark] offered the excuse that Iraq was then fighting the Shi'ite nation of Iran:
He (Saddam) had this huge war going on, and you have to act firmly when you have an assassination attempt.
Just go back and read that again. Ramsey Clark believes that A) the massacre and torture did occur and B) that it was ordered by his client and C) that he was justified in ordering it and carrying it out. That is quite sufficiently breathtaking. It is no less breathtaking when one recalls why Saddam "had this huge war going on." He had, after all, ordered a full-scale invasion of the oil-bearing Iranian region of Khuzestan and attempted to redraw the frontiers in Iraq's favor. Most experts accept a figure of about a million and a half as the number of young Iranians and Iraqis who lost their lives in consequence of this aggression (which incidentally enjoyed the approval of that Nobel Peace laureate Jimmy Carter). And Ramsey Clark says that the aggression is an additional reason to justify the massacre at Dujail.